The Catalina Wine Mixer: Santa Catalina Island

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Sailing out of the Main Channel in Marina Del Rey

 

If you’re like me, ever since you finished watching Stepbrothers, you’ve always wondered where the world famous Catalina Wine Mixer is at. I did Google search upon Bing search upon a Yahoo search but alas, I don’t have the answer for you….. Really, I have no clue. We are now stuck with a huge dilemma. Where is this fictional movie wonderland? I still couldn’t tell you, so we’re making our own. Welcome to the scouting trip for the first annual Catalina Wine Mixer.

First off, let me tell you where Catalina is. Santa Catalina Island is an island in the Pacific Ocean approximately 20-25 miles off the coast of California. It’s not too far, but only accessible by sea or air. Since this the first of many wine mixers on this fantastic island, and the fact I have a boat, not a plane, we decided to arrive in style by sea.

After checking NOAA website for the weather, we made our way to the marina and loaded up the boat.

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We set sail at 0900 or 9:00AM and the conditions couldn’t have been better. The winds were picking up in a southerly direction, so all we had to do was point the boat to 170 degrees on the compass and unfurl the Jib (the front sail on a sailboat).

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While leaving the marina, we encountered a group of dolphins. Dolphins are awesome creatures. They’re incredibly smart and super friendly. The pod we came across swam along side us for most of the trip, only breaking away when we rounded the western end of the island.

One of the Dolphins that swam with the boat

One of the Dolphins that swam with the boat

Taking pictures of dolphins jumping out of the water is hard. So here is one of a tanker instead.

Taking pictures of dolphins jumping out of the water is hard. So here is one of a tanker instead.

Land Ho!

Land Ho!

After rounding the island, we changed course and sailed east, following the coast of the island.

Fellow sailor round the west end of the island

Fellow sailor round the west end of the island

Almost There!

Almost There!

Rounding the west end of Santa Catalina Island

Rounding the west end of Santa Catalina Island

Finally! The southern side of the island.

Finally! The southern side of the island.

We found Ribbon Rock on the southern coastline

We found Ribbon Rock on the southern coastline

This is why they call it Ribbon Rock.

This is why they call it Ribbon Rock.

Our plan was to sail to the Isthmus and anchor on the southern side of the island in a little place called Cat Harbor. The Isthmus is a small piece of land connecting the town of Two Harbors and Cat Harbor. This would be our stop for the day. Once we arrived and anchored, we loaded up the dingy with gear and went ashore. Two Harbors is a tiny town, consisting of a yacht club, general store, town hall, and a restaurant/deli. There are a few campgrounds scattered around a jungle gym as well.

The Isthmus.

The Isthmus.

All set and ready to go ashore

All set and ready to go ashore

After a hot meal, we explored the western end of the island for a place to camp out when we return to the island to make wine mixer history at a later date. Since it started getting dark, we hiked back to the dingy and made camp on the boat for the night.

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Sunset in Cat Harbor

Sunset in Cat Harbor

We woke the next day to pelicans diving into the water from about 30 feet in the air. They dive into the water to catch fish in their big beaks. As soon as they surfaced, a bunch of smaller birds would surround the pelican and attempt to steal the fish out of the larger bird’s mouth.

These Pelicans were diving into the water, inches from the boat

These Pelicans were diving into the water, inches from the boat

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At least we weren't the only ones...

At least we weren’t the only ones…

We pulled up anchor and sailed further south to Little Harbor to check out possible spots for snorkeling and scuba diving. After sailing around Little Harbor a few times, we followed to coastline going west until we past the west end. Once past the west end, we set our bearings to 030 and sailed off into the sunset. Well, as far into the sunset as Marina Del Rey would let us.

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2 thoughts on “The Catalina Wine Mixer: Santa Catalina Island

  1. Thanks for this account of your journey to Catalina. It is a place I have always heard a lot about and am thinking of making a trip out there later in the year. Love your photo of the dolphin, I mean, tanker 🙂

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    1. The tanker didn’t move as fast, so it had no choice but to be photogenic haha! Catalina is a fun place to visit. I go scuba diving a few times a year at Casino point on the south end of the island. There is also a 3 day party/rave in Two Harbors called Buccaneer Days. That’s usually the first week of October.

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